AMSTERDAM: Louis Van Gaal, one of the most successful coaches in the history of the modern game, has announced his retirement from football.
The former Holland, Barcelona, Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich and Manchester United manager has been out of work since being sacked by hours after winning the FA Cup in May 2016.
He made the announcement on Monday after receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Dutch government for his contribution to football. He quoted family issues as contributing to his decision, following the sudden death of his daughter’s husband last month.
Van Gaal told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: “I thought maybe I would stop, then I thought it would be a sabbatical, but now I do not think I will return to coaching.
“So much has happened in my family, you become a human being again with your nose pressed to the facts.”
Van Gaal played in central defence and midfield for Ajax, Antwerp, Telstar, Sparta Rotterdam and AZ between 1972 and 1987 before moving into coaching, first as an assistant at AZ followed by the same role at Ajax.
He replaced Leo Beenhakker as Ajax head coach in 1991 and won the Dutch league three times as well as the 1992 UEFA Cup and the 1995 Champions League.
At Barcelona, where he followed Bobby Robson, Van Gaal won two successive league titles and the cup before a first appointment as manager of Holland.
He lasted only two years, quitting after the Ditch failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, and returned to Barcelona but left after eight months with the club just above the relegation zone.
Van Gaal then guided AZ to the 2006 Dutch title before moving to the Bundesliga and winning the German league title in 2010 before returning to the KNVB.
At the 2014 World Cup Holland finished third in Brazil before he tried his hand in the English Premier League for the first time with Manchester United.
Van Gaal’s ponderous style of play failed to light any fires and he was sacked two years into a three-year contract and shortly after the FA Cup victory.
League titles: Ajax (1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96), Barcelona (1997-98, 1998-99), AZ Alkmaar (2008-09), Bayern Munich (2009-10)
Champions League: Ajax (1994-95)
UEFA Cup: Ajax (1991-92)
FA Cup: Manchester United (2015-16)